Monday, March 18, 2013

Be a Good Neighbor

What would be your definition of a good neighbor?  In today's society, most would probably say a "good neighbor" is someone who keeps to himself, is quiet and respectful of those around them, and keeps a tidy yard.  Because, let's be honest, we've all lived beside someone who isn't one of these things.

Our sermon Sunday challenged us to be more, as a neighbor. 
And I was blessed for the reminder.

Tim and I had nursery rotation yesterday, so we opted to skip Sunday school and attend early service.  Though I know our sermons are now podcast, being there in person made such an impact and I am thankful we didn't miss it.

We took a "Good Neighbor" quiz as we were asked questions like, "Are you aware of the problems your neighbors may be facing?" and just simply, "Do you pay attention?" 

I wasn't pleased or proud of my score.

While we know most of our neighbors, there are some I would pass right by because I've never seen their faces.  Couldn't tell you their last names, unless it was on the mail box.  Our kids hang out with other teens on the block and I couldn't tell you the first thing about their family.  We truly do each live in our own little yard. 

Sadly, I probably know more about people I really don't know at all from Facebook, compared to the people who live on my street.  It's the world we live in, we're all closed off behind the safety of our laptop screens.  It's so much easier to simply post, "praying for you" on a status than getting out of our comfort zones and knocking on someone's door to help.  And maybe it is because of the reception we know will come if they answer.

It's the same, for many of us, when faced with sharing the gospel with the lost.  Neighbors aside, I have people in my own family I know that are lost.  People who I love and want in Heaven with me, yet I don't have the words or know how to reach them.  In some cases, I think maybe it is easier to reach a stranger and tell someone about Jesus.  And it shouldn't be that hard!

The ending of yesterday's sermon was profound.  Soul shaking.  Heart stirring.

There's a cross in the corner of our church where names of the lost had been attached.  Yesterday we arrived to find it empty.  Our preacher had pulled off all the names to review.  In one hand he held the names of those who had been saved.  We rejoiced in removing them.  In the other he held names of those who had passed, and to our knowledge, left this world not knowing the glory that could’ve been on the other side. My heart sank.

As names were reviewed and new ones added, each were placed back on the cross with a stapler. With each loud clank into the wood, I envisioned Christ being nailed to the cross for our sins. Every metallic clank, a symbolic reminder of his sacrifice for us, for them.  He's already paid the price, all we have to do is accept the gift.

For God so loved YOU that he gave his one and only Son, that if YOU believe in him, 
YOU shall not perish but have eternal life.

We are never promised tomorrow.
I rest because I know when my tomorrow ends, my forever begins.
It is my prayer that you know this too, friend. …neighbor.


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